Heartbreak While Healing
- A Miami grandmother with stage four cancer is upset because she can no longer crochet in the library.
- 7News in Miami has a segment called “Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser,” where civilians in need can vent some sort frustration they have experienced in their local community; Gladys Bower is heartbroken and asks for help.
- Many cancer survivors express that doing arts and crafts and other artistic hobbies can be therapeutic throughout their journeys. It’s important to take your mind off of the disease, as many of us know how much it can dominate your life.
7News Miami has a segment called “Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser,” where civilians in need can vent some sort frustration they have experienced in their local community. Now, they have a crochet complaint on their hands, as Gladys was recently told that she can no longer attend the crochet class at Miami’s South Dade Regional Library. Crocheting is a very special hobby for her and she is heartbroken to have been excluded.Read More
Now she’s going through her own battle. “I have lung cancer and pancreas cancer,” she told the station. “They waiting to see if it’s spreading all over now.”
Gladys had decided to start crocheting toys for children battling cancer. It makes the children smile and it’s quite therapeutic for her as well. “It’s relaxing, so I’m not thinking about all. I got cancer. I got this.”
Now, she is unable to crochet in her favorite place.
Enter Howard Finkelstein, 7News legal expert, who weighed in on whether or not you can be banned from the library. “No, libraries are open to the public,” he declared. “Gladys was registered for the class and had a right to go to the class. It’s legally that simple.”
7News also reached out to the Miami-Dade Public Library, who responded with a statement. “Their programs are open to all residents,” a spokesperson said. “That in this case, the volunteer class instructor and the library staff, believed that the class was at capacity, not realizing Ms. Bower was already registered.”
They categorized the complaint as an “unfortunate misunderstanding,” and extended an apology to Gladys via telephone, inviting her back to crochet class at the library.
While Gladys was happy for the apology, she is still hesitant to go back to class for fear that she is not wanted there. She is trying her best to smile and if she does go back, she will go with a “good attitude.”
That’s the spirit, Gladys! We are so glad it all worked out.
Cancer and Crafting
Many cancer survivors express that doing arts and crafts and other artistic hobbies can, indeed, be therapeutic throughout their journey. It’s important to take your mind off of “cancer,” as many of us know how much it can dominate your life. Creating can help with healing. Gladys’ love for those kids at the cancer hospital inspired her to do something that is, in turn, helping her during her cancer battle.
SurvivorNetTV’s original series SN & You features an episode about art and cancer, featuring a handful of cancer survivors reflecting on the impact music and art had on their cancer journey. It can be challenging to keep a positive attitude when you’re feeling worn out from treatment. These survivors have been in your shoes and have tips to help get you through.
Marianne Cuozzo is a mother, an artist, and a three-time cancer survivor. Her first cancer diagnosis came at the age of 28 and she had a recurrence a few years later. Then in 2014, Cuozzo got breast cancer and underwent a mastectomy and reconstruction. After suffering with numerous infections, she opted to “go flat.” Through some difficult times, Cuozzo found art to be a tool to help express herself in ways she didn’t want to do verbally.
Singer/songwriter Bianca Muniz is a two-time cancer survivor. She had ovarian cancer at 11, was diagnosed at 22 with breast cancer and was diagnosed with lung cancer at 24. Throughout her struggle with cancer, music has been her savior.
While Marianne and Bianca chose art and music, air guitar was Marquina Iliev-Piselli’s calling. Playing the air guitar allowed Marquina to dress up in fun, whacky outfits, try on different personas, and really stay in touch with herself during a tough time. “With cancer specifically, every couple weeks I would grab a bunch of different clothes that were donated and bring them to the hospital and would just try to make something happen in those six to eight hours while I was in the hospital. It was glam rock chemo,” Marquina says. “I air guitared [during] my chemo, and it saved my spirit. It made it so I don’t look back on that time with fear.”
We later see Joel Naftelberg, a pancreatic cancer survivor, who saw music as his lifeline after his first cancer diagnosis. “It doesn’t necessarily solve anything, but it does let us dance on our problems for at least an hour or two,” he says. Joel has undergone treatment for both liver and pancreatic cancer. He compares his cancer to a monster, saying it has affected every aspect of his life. However, he hasn’t allowed his disease to take over his life. Joel handles cancer by taking it one day at a time–and of course, by making time to feed his love of music.
Lastly, we hear from Matthew Zachary, CEO and founder of Stupid Cancer. When he was facing brain cancer as a 21-year-old college student, he noticed a lack of resources for people in his situation—that’s how he got into advocacy. Through being his own advocate and asking questions during his treatment, he was able to find alternative solutions that would give him the ability to continue pursing his passion, piano.
Marianne Cuozzo, Bianca Muniz, Joel Naftelberg, Marquina Iliev-Piselli and Matthew Zachary share inspiration and hope through their stories … and so does Gladys. Now, go grab a crochet kit—or just some colored pencils and paper—and begin manifesting those healing vibes.